I know, I don’t know, but I know

A woman I work with, who is a work-friend and a lovely person, is pregnant with her first child – due late June. I was so happy for her – she is the kind of person who sponsors refugee families and spends her well earned funds on supporting a plethora of local and international charities. She is a really good person…so when I found out there would be a little CG, I was super excited for her.

This past week she called to let me know that her baby had been born still, at 37 weeks. There is no reason, no diagnosis yet, and nothing immediately evident that could have caused the still birth. Not that it would make it easier, I just hoped a diagnosis or a reason would enable her to know how to move forward.

My heart is broken for her. I wish there were words, but there just aren’t.

I so badly want to reach out to her and say I know. I know how it feels to ache for a child you will never meet. I know the pain, the heaviness in your heart while your body feels so empty. I know it all, and you don’t have to be alone while you wade through this horrible wasteland of grief.

But I don’t really know. I’ve never had a still birth, or even a miscarriage. I’ve never had a pregnancy…despite trying everything. But I do know grief. For me, it comes from the silence echoing with the memory of my so wanted babies, my 50+ failed cycles and my disappointment that swallows me whole. For her, it’s the little baby she knew, she cradled, she loved and she grew … and one she had no reason to think she wouldn’t bring home.

I know it’s not the same. Losing a child you carried, loved, wanted and prepared for – completely unexpectedly – that’s a pain I cannot imagine. All of the babies I’ve lost existed only in my mind, and my hopeful heart – but I do know what it feels like to miss something with every ounce of your soul, every pore in your body, every breath you take and to be so, utterly, disappointed.

I just wish I knew how to say that to her in a way that wouldn’t be offensive or hurtful. Instead, I just offered her a warm hug and a promise to come running if she needed anything at all.

Is that enough? I don’t even know.

WTF – Possibly the most negative post I’ve ever written, please forgive me for my nastiness but, for real, WTF

I work SUPER hard not to be jealous or bitter about our inability to conceive while being surrounded by super fertile family and friends who are constantly having surprise pregnancies. I do…because I DON’T want to bitter or nasty, but sometimes….sometimes, I just have to let it out. Please be gentle with me, I know this post is not my usual style but I just have to get it off my chest.


There is this girl I have known all my life (MM). Her family has been friends of my parents since forever, and for as long as I can remember, she has been a deplorable human being.

She has zero concern for anyone but herself, and is totally OK with ruining someone else’s life for her own satisfaction, based on completely false claims. She lies…oh she lies. She lies about people abusing her, she lies about pregnancies and miscarriages (to date, has claimed 15 in two years, all within 3 weeks of each other…and includes 14-16 week ultrasound photos, with the names blurred out, claiming she is “3 weeks pregnant today!”), she lies about experiences and services received at local businesses – and then she spreads her lies in hopes of hurting the business. She spews hate and racism like it’s her job. She cheats on her husband shamelessly, without any concern for who knows. She treats her parents – who have given her everything – like garbage. She refuses to work, and instead lives off the government and is constantly complaining that she is not getting as much money or benefits as she deserves because she is 1/265th Aboriginal, and therefore entitled to the same benefits (? Ya, ok? Blond haired, blue eyed white girl). She has received multiple interventions over her life time to try to help her, but she simply does not agree that she has any kind of problem. The worst part is? She posts this stuff all over face.book for everyone to see and doesn’t see anything wrong with that. (For perspective, she joined a group for Support for Teen Mothers on F.B….and then posted hateful, nasty comments wishing them all miscarriages and/or stillbirths. Her excuse was that she has struggled with infertility (her fake pregnancies and fake miscarriages) so she is allowed to be bitter. They deleted and blocked her, but not before she accused them all of being whores and incapable of adequate parenting – asking them all to “throw themselves down a set of stairs before they ruin another kids life”.

This is all 100%, actual truth that I could show you from her Fa.ce.book wall. Horrific, right? Probably the worst person I’ve ever known. The logical person in me says she is obviously hurting, and miserable, but the other part of me says – who isn’t? That doesn’t give you the excuse to be so SO HORRIBLE.

So imagine my surprise (not) when she posted another pregnancy announcement. I expected the customary 3 week miscarriage announcement, followed by the collection of sympathy and gifts…but it didn’t come. Then, there was an ultrasound photo WITH HER NAME ON IT, captioned “infertility survivor” (Please tell me this makes you boil too?)! That was when the lead ball dropped into my stomach.

Then – yesterday – I ran into her Mom and she confirmed (she appeared majorly stressed about it) that MM is, in fact, pregnant. 16 weeks, to be exact.

What. The. Fuck.

How does someone so cruel, so unpleasant, so malicious get blessed with a baby?? How?? How is that fair for that poor child who will, undoubtedly, suffer? There is nothing in the world that will change MM, she has been this unpleasant since she was born – so HOW CAN THIS BE FAIR? To the child, to the world, and to people who are *actually* infertile, and also decent human beings who want nothing more than a little human to love??

Whatthefuck. Whatthefuck. Whatthefuck. Whatthefuck. Whatthefuck. Whatthefuck. Whatthefuck.

That’s all I have to say. Now I will return to being a kind, nice, genuine human being because there are NOT enough of us in the world, and I will get back in the line of similar people waiting for OUR miracle babies…(even though, for some reason I will never understand, they are given to people like MM).

 

#MicroblogMondays – Things I am not

Ah, another family centered holiday. This Easter, I am trying to focus on the true reason for the season – and the Hope it promises. I am not doing very well at it.

I have had so many great plans for my life, waylaid by my plans to have a family – and now none of those things have come true and I feel completely lost. I am trying to focus on saying good bye to things I am not, and focusing on the things that I am. If any of those things from the “not” side are able to come over to the “am” side, then I’ll be happy as a peach – but right now, they’re not on the am side and I need to make peace with that.

I’m not the perfect homemaker, with a PhD, who has stayed in touch with every friend from every stage, is a published author and a practicing musician and who is confident and secure in a small town, mothering the hell out of her darling offspring.

Instead… I am a dedicated and hard worker, a fiercely passionate violinist, a loving and loyal Wife and Aunt, a friend to many from all walks and stages of life…a woman who is strong and independent and is a slightly over the top superb fur-mama.

It’s not at all who I thought I would be at 30. Not at all who I wanted to be…but here I am, imperfect and lost…just trying to find my way.

Tell me you’ve all felt this way, too?? And that it gets better?

*Click here to find out more about #MicroblogMondays, and how you can participate too.*

 

 

 

Bell, Let’s Talk

In Canada, it is Bell Let’s Talk day. That’s a day when a popular cellphone, phone line, internet and TV provider donates a large portion of their proceeds from texts sent to mental health initiatives.

For the weeks prior, there are commercials and ads connecting Mental Health issues with real people – in an effort to spread awareness and end the stigma. Howie Mandel (and his public battle with OCD) is the poster child for this campaign.

It’s also one that’s near and dear to my heart for a similar reason.


I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Not the kind that people claim to have because they like their socks arranged by colour or they arrange their books in alphabetical order. No, I have the real kind – the one that ruins lives if untreated, holds me back from my dreams, causes isolation and depression. The real, serious, mental disease kind.

I have had symptoms since I was a small child. At the time, they were labeled as quirky. I was always high functioning (excellent grades in school), so it wasn’t considered a problem. As I aged, the symptoms got worse and evolved. Finally, when I was in my third year of University, the stress of life intensified my symptoms so much that I could barely leave my apartment. In desperation, I tried to commit suicide…and I would have succeeded had my roommate not come back to grab a book she forgot. That experience will forever be the worst, and the best, of my life. I caused great pain to my roommate, and myself, and I will forever regret that – but it also saved my life. I spent the next month in a mental health unit in Hospital, where I worked hard to dig myself up from the pit I was in.

I completed an outpatient program for depression, and passed it with flying colours. I was proclaimed cured, and returned to school to finish my degree.

What I didn’t realize was that, those little nigglings of something that I attributed to depression, were actually something more. At first, it was an itch that I couldn’t scratch if the door was partially open, or the curtains were and the only thing that scratched it was closing them. Then it evolved into a need for cleanliness, and a need to pray for each person I loved at night. Then it evolved into an inability to function if I do not clean a “dirty item” and the surfaces it has touched and a need to pray for each person by name, or else they would not be safe overnight. From there, it became something horrifying larger: a need to clean a dirty item, the surface its touched, and the surfaces that have touched the surfaces that have touched the dirty item. An anxiety filled prayer including everyone I love by name, picturing them and surrounding them with white light for exactly the right amount of time or something horrible will happen to them. A fear of illness and vomiting, so severe, that I would chose death over exposure. A need to check the door one, two, three, four, five times to make sure it is locked, even though I have already checked. A need to wash my hands so often that they are raw and bleeding, and still unable to stop washing them. A fear that if I think of something bad for too long or too short, it will happen and then the panic that ensues when I realize it has not met those time requirements. The constant foreboding that something awful will happen because I did not check the door five times, or count to 20 while running water. A fear of contamination so severe that it is impossible to visit someone else, or even leave my house.

Not surprising, in that time, my life became a bubble of fear in hiding, constantly trying to dodge the next thing. I couldn’t function, I couldn’t leave the house and I realized that I couldn’t live like that.

Unlike the first time my symptoms became so heavy, I chose to get help. I went to my doctor and explained everything, preceding it with “I know how insane this sounds, but…”.

She listened, she nodded, she typed some things, and then she gave me a hug and a list of websites. She told me to go to them, and read through them, and in the mean time she was sending a prescription to the pharmacy, a referral to a Psychiatrist and she wanted me to call her if I needed anything at all.

When I checked the first website, I thought I typed it in wrong. I didn’t have OCD – that was something that people who shuffle around in bathrobes, with baggies on their hands, have. Not me – I had an education, a good career, a house, a husband, a family… BUT I clicked on over to “Symptoms” anyway, and I could not believe my eyes when I saw what I saw. Every single symptom, every single experience, every single thing that was happening to me that I deemed insanity was there. Every. single. one. It changed my life.

For the first time in years I felt relieved. There was a reason for these symptoms, and if there was a reason – then there was a treatment. The change in my feelings, in my mind, was so profound that it is one of the most memorable moments of my life. I can still feel the relief, the giddiness wash over. I had a chance, like could be OK again, there was hope for me.

Since then it has been a roller coaster. OCD is something that will never go away. I will always have it, and I will always struggle with it. It responds directly to the other stressors in my life so as long as I am calm, I can keep a handle on it – but the second that something stressful and out of my control happens, it’s there barging into my brain and ready to take over.

I am not OCD, but it will always be a part of me. Most of the time, now, I am OK with that. I have made my peace with it, and I am in a good place right now – but other times, I am angry and sad and frustrated. I am constantly working on not being ashamed of this, but it is hard.

The point of this big, long, wordy post (if you’re still with me, thank you!!) – is to say three things to you:

  1. You are not alone. You may feel alone, and it may seem like you are alone. But just look at my symptoms up there and how illogical they were – I was positive no one else was experiencing them – but I did some research and was amazed to see that they were. Not just one or two – but thousands of people were. Reach out, find someome who gets it. Don’t ever suffer silently. Ever.
  2. Get help. I know it hurts to ask for help. I know how shameful it feels, I know how poorly some people understand it. I know. But if you don’t get help, it could kill you – and let me tell you, there are people out there who will be shattered by the loss of you. Not just family and friends, but the first responders who find you, and the neighbor across the hall and your coworkers. If you can’t do it for yourself, then do it for them. Get help.
  3. Be kind – to yourself, and to others. Mental illness is real, debilitating, and life crushing. Don’t make someone feel smaller than they already feel because you do not understand. Trust me, if I could chose something else I absolutely would. It would be easier to be diabetic than have OCD – but those are not the cards I was dealt. Don’t belittle yourself for something you can’t control, and don’t belittle someone else for it. We are all just doing the best we can, with what we have, battling something no one else can understand. Be kind.

Thanks for reading! I hope you didn’t fall asleep and, more importantly, I hope it help you on some level…whether to deal with mental illness in yourself, or in someone else.

P.S: I think this is the longest post I have EVER blogged. #longestpostaward

We’re Sorry, Too.

I know it’s a running joke that Canadians apologize for everything – but for my American friends: I am so very sorry.

I’m sorry that you’re afraid right now – afraid for yourself, or your friends, who are not white, male and straight. I am sorry that you’re worried his hate will spread. I am sorry that you’re devastated to have to explain this to your children. I am sorry that such a beautiful, powerful, positive country is now being run by an angry, hateful, hurtful man and that countless people will be hurt in the process.

I’m just sorry. I am heartbroken for what this means for your rights and for the world as a whole – because what America does will resonate with us all.

It’s just impossible to make sense of it. I just don’t understand how someone who is so readily vocal about his hatred of so many things, people and lifestyles can possibly be elected as President of the United States. I am sure Trump had positive changes he wanted to make – things that some of you can get behind – but what spoke loudest, what he shouted to the world time and time again was nothing but hate and I cannot possibly understand why anyone would want someone like that to be their President.

It’s terrifying, and my heart is with those of you who are hurt, and who will be hurt by his hatred. Sending hugs and lots of love from Canada.

Two pink lines – Finally!!

In our 6 years of trying to have a baby – I have never, ever, not even once had two pink lines on anything I’ve ever peed on – OPK, PG Test…nothing. Because of that, I have massive anxiety about any POAs of any kind – and literally spend a day psyching myself up for it  and then another day berating myself for being so silly to think I would ever get a positive. It’s a vicious cycle. I typically ovulate approximately twice a year – if that – so for the last year I have been on a tight regime of good choices, healthy foods and regular exercise (plus one million vitamins…ok, maybe not one million but a lot) to try and rectify that naturally. I have refrained from taking any form of OPK during this time, but I have taken a few PG tests which have, of course, all been negative.

So now I am back at TTC – with improved health and completely normal blood work (woot, woot). I have started charting – BBT, CM and (of course) OPKs. The only OPKs I’ve ever used before were digital, because I wanted it to be easy and clear, but this time I went for economical and ordered the lifetime supply huge box off Amaz.on of tests. The catch with these is that they are not digital – but I figured I could handle that. I started taking them 3 days ago on CD10 (because I’m not really sure when I ovulate)…and imagine my surprise and excitement when on my very first test I got this:

Image result for negative OPK

Hallelujah! Finally -for the first time in my entire life – a POSITIVE! I jumped up and down, I danced, I sang, I proclaimed myself cured of infertility because – obviously – I got a positive on an OPK, and I may or may not have kissed the test. I almost cried I was so happy to *finally* see a positive on something I peed on. It has been such a long, disheartening road and this felt like sweet, sweet redemption. All my hard work had paid off, I was ovulating! I could suddenly see my future as mother – it was so close I could taste it.

Ahhh, it was a glorious 3 minutes of celebration where I felt like a real woman, who’s body was doing womanly things like it should be…

And then, as I put it all away with an ear to ear smile on my face, I noticed this on the box:

Image result for negative OPK

Wait a minute…TWO LINES can be a negative OR a positive? What kind of test is this?!? Who made it – Hitler?? I whipped out the test again and felt my confidence, dreams, and pride shatter as I realized the test line was – OF COURSE – lighter than the control line. Meaning my “sweet redemption positive” was, actually, a big fat negative. Story.of.my.life.

Womp. Womp.

I don’t think I have ever gone so fast from cloud 9, to an inch below dirt floor. I cried for a while, and Mr. Big tried to console me but let’s be honest – there is no consoling an infertile woman who (for one quick second) thought she may not be…but then had it dashed away so easily. Like the test was saying to me: “Of course you’re infertile you fool – it’s like you forget who you are…just a big, infertile mess who will never see anything but big fat negatives.”

While I get that the two lines are because LH is usually there, and a dark line means a surge – I still think it’s unfair to have two lines on ANYTHING but a positive pregnancy test. Don’t we have enough stress? Must we add in just one more thing?

I am not sure what happened after, but I believe we need to buy new Halloween Candy.

Good Friends

When I was younger (teen to early 20s), I lived for my friends. Nothing could cure my teenage angst like a day spent doing nothing along side my besties. Even when our bodies were changing, and our emotions were roller coasters, and some of us were dealing with tragedies – a day spent watching movies and talking was what got us through.

Now, though, I’m at the age where all of my friends have small children. I was one of the first to get married, and the only without kids. While I still love spending time with my friends-who-are-now-mommies, it’s different than it used to be. Their priorities have changed (rightly so) and their lives are much different than mine.  One of the hardest parts is that when we do get together, there are so many wonderful parenting stories – but sometimes, I feel a bit sad or insecure about my infertility. That onus is on me, I know, but it happens just the same. I love my friends dearly, but it is hard on me when all we ever discuss is the one thing I cannot seem to obtain but want so desperately. Even getting together is a challenge – and something I’m starting to realize may not happen until all the kids are a bit older. I’m ok with that, I love those girls dearly and I will wait for them. But … I’m lonely and I miss my friends.

Then something interesting happened. I developed a couple friendships with four girls from work that initially became working relationships, and have since developed into a deeper friendships. All of the girls love children, but don’t have any for varying reasons: choice, health, circumstance, etc. Last week we went out for drinks after work and stayed for hours just talking about life and movies and good books. It was wonderful. I had forgotten how much life there is outside of parenting…for so long my focus has been zeroed in on how to have a baby, and having a baby, that I had forgotten there are other good things in life, too.

It was a wonderful distraction from infertility. For the first time in a long time, I did not feel like the infertile in a room full of mothers. I was just another person, enjoying a nice meal and great conversation with good friends. It was so needed. I am so glad to call these girls friends.

Do you have a mix of mommy and non-mommy friends? Do you find it more difficult or more easy to identify with one over the other?